UW-Eau Claire political science professor Ali Abootalebi said unless God himself comes down and says, “George, stop that,” America will be headed to war soon.
Leaders from Britain and the United States made a push for war late last week through press conferences and lobbying for new U.N. resolutions.
President Bush, in a rare prime time press conference Thursday night, said Iraq continues to violate a U.N. Security Council resolution and that Saddam Hussein must be disarmed from his weapons of mass destruction.
“These are not the actions of a regime that is disarming,” Bush said in the conference. “These are the actions of a regime engaged in a willful charade,” Bush said. “These are the actions of a regime that systematically and deliberately is defying the world.”
The president said the past 12 years gave Hussein ample time to disarm and added that diplomacy had run its course.
Abootalebi, along with political science professor Stephen Hill, discussed Friday afternoon the potential war with Iraq.
On the same day at the United Nations, Britain pushed for a second resolution that would set a firm deadline of March 17 for Iraq to prove it had completely disarmed or face military action.
The new resolution would require nine of 15 votes in the U.N. Security Council to pass. Five of those members are permanent and have the right to veto as of now, Hill said. It appears three of the five permanent members will veto.
Pushing for another resolution in the United Nations would force countries to show if they stand with or against the United States, Abootalebi said.
Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix also addressed the United Nations on Friday, saying that Iraq now is aiding with a “great deal more” cooperation than in previous weeks.
Time is the main problem, Abootalebi said.
With Iraq slowly complying with U.N. demands while the Bush administration is increasing its rhetoric for regime change, Hill and Abootalebi said uncertainties run rampant now more than ever.
Both professors said the timing of war is nearly impossible to predict.
Countries, such as Germany and France, continually point to Iraq’s gradual compliance to U.N. demands, Hill said.
Britain and the United States point to intelligence information suggesting that the weapons Iraq presents only represent a mere fraction of Hussein’s arsenal, he said.
A serious blow to the Pentagon’s plans came last week when the Turkish parliament rejected a motion to allow U.S. troops to launch an attack from Turkish bases. Access from Turkey into northern Iraq would allow for a strategic advantage in the war.
If Turkey said “no” to the United States again in another vote by the parliament, Abootalebi said the Pentagon probably would order the attack a few days later as it did in the original Persian Gulf War.
Although, he said the United States should “go before the next 10 days” to avoid the upcoming summer months. By doing this, U.S. forces can avoid complications of fighting in the hotter months.
Agreeing with Abootalebi’s estimate of timing is history professor Selika Ducksworth-Lawton.
“After drawing the line in the sand we have to go now,” she said. “I’m betting next week. (But) we should have gone last week.”
If the United States leaves the region and, thus, shows weakness, she said, the result might be attacks on U.S. forces similar to the ones on U.S. embassies after the withdrawal from Somalia.
Ducksworth-Lawton is involved with the Rand Corporation, a “think tank” involved with topics such as education, health, national security and the military, according the corporation’s Web site.
She said her area of expertise and bias lies with the soldier fighting on the front lines and, as a result, has had quite a bit of exposure to Army culture.
“The more you know about this (situation with Iraq), the more disturbed” one becomes, she said.
However disheartening, Ducksworth-Lawton said U.S. forces must go now.
She criticized members of the ongoing movement to stop the war for not speaking out against the issue last September. The Democrats who are protesting the potential war, voted to give Bush power to make war without the consultation of Congress.
She summed up the situation by saying she doesn’t trust Bush, the media, and the other guys.
“I’m equal-opportunity paranoid.”
— The Associated Press contributed to this story